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Report: U.S. and Russia reach agreement on space station tourism
Posted: Fri, Aug 10, 2001, 2:09 PM ET (1809 GMT)
ISS illustration (NASA) NASA and Rosaviakosmos have completed a tentative agreement that would allow more commercial space tourists to visit the International Space Station, the Washington Post reported Friday. The deal, said by a NASA spokesperson to be "basically agreed to in principle", would set standards for training, language, and "personal suitability" for future space tourists visiting ISS. Full details of the agreement will not be released until it is signed, the Post said. The negotiations that led to the agreement were prompted by the controversy earlier this year when Russia sent California businessman Dennis Tito to the station over the objections of NASA and other ISS partners, a flight that Tito paid $20 million for. Rosaviakosmos is courting other potential tourists to supplement its meager budget, including South African Mark Shuttleworth, who may fly to the station in one of two Soyuz taxi flights scheduled for next year. Rosaviakosmos chief Yuri Koptev said at a Thursday press conference that the space agency and several aerospace companies, RSC Energia, plan to spin off companies that the Russian government will own 51 percent of, but provide only 20 percent of the funding, with the remainder coming from commercial ventures.
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